Castello di Falconara: weddings and B & B in Butera, Sicily
In territory of Butera, on a promontory surrounded by greenery, stands the Castle of Falconara, the only one among the manors of the province of Caltanissetta to look out over the sea. Dating back to the fifteenth century, expanded and strengthened over time, it retained its function of vigilance against pirate raids throughout the eighteenth century. The tower, the original nucleus of the castle, in addition to defending the activities of a small 'loader', was part of the coastal defensive circuit of the island; at the towers of Falconara and Manfria, distant about 8 km, it was in fact entrusted the control of the stretch of coast between Licata and Gela.
Passed by Santapau ai Branciforte and finally ai Chiaramonte Bordonarohalf of the 800 was added a new building and was renovated as an elegant noble residence, preserving the ancient Aragonese structure and the original spatial organization. The original nucleus, consisting of the old square tower, called "della Falconara" for the breeding of falcons that the lords kept there in an unspecified period, was manipulated and enlarged by the different owners who had succeeded over the centuries.
Volumetrically the castle consists of a complex articulation of bodies developed around the central tower. Today it is difficult to distinguish the phases of evolution because the expansion and reorganization of the original structure have altered its architectural characteristics.
Internally the castle is very articulated, with richly furnished and decorated rooms, inside which they are preserved collections of ceramics, paintings and hunting trophies conquered by the landlord and his father, the baron Gabriele Chiaramonte Bordonaro Alliata, in their numerous safaris in Kenya. The castle is partially surrounded by a crenellated wall, recently built, which leads to a beam on which overlook the various bodies that make up the architectural complex. The nineteenth-century wing, developed towards the sea, is completed by a large terrace overlooking the sea front; this body, connected by a staircase to the original tower, houses several halls and a lateral portico.
The courtyard is open on one side and the entrance is through a large arched door. On the perimeter of the court there are heterogeneous buildings, covered with pitched roofs and with balconies and windows that look out towards the exterior of the building. Substantially, the building complex has maintained the original spatial organization, even in the furnishing of fine furniture and refined workmanship that can still be found there.
On the façade where the entrance is located there is a gunboat in the tower and, at the corners, two protruding shelves of shelves. Also at the entrance there is a rectangular courtyard with stables and warehouses. From the outside you can also access the main chapel, whose decorative architectural elements, as well as throughout the central body, are in Modica stone; while the supporting structure is made of uniform plaster of lime and lime.
Outside the Castle of Falconara è surrounded by a park whose plant was designed in 1893 by the architect Ernesto Basile which also rearranged the entrance to the court of the castle, in addition to the lush and exotic palm grove, there is also the rare presence of a prickly pear cactus with round palms of Mexican origin, species that in Sicily is found only in the Botanical Garden of Palermo, and one splendid swimming pool for the guests of the Castle.
The history of the Castello di Falconara
There is no certain information on the date of construction of the tower, but it is very likely that it took place in Fourteenth century, and in particular after the 1313, during the war of Vespers between the Aragonese of Sicily and the Angevins of Naples, when some Angevin pirates could land between Gela and Licata, and assault and plunder Butera. Of course there was the 18 October 1392, when Martino I, with the diploma "marked in Castrogiovanni", assigned it as a fief with the county of Butera, to Ugone Santapau, of the noble Catalan family of the Ademar faithful to him, such as
reward for supporting the King against adverse factions.
In the 1422 the tower already exists and a vice-ship for the Falconara 'loader' is named. In the first half of the 16th century, Butera became principate and Ambrogio Santapau becomes the first prince of Butera. In the 1540 i Branciforte they happen to the Santapau in the principality of Butera.
The title then passed to all the successors of the Santapau family until it ended up in the hands of Ambrogio Branciforte, made Prince of Butera by Philip II in the 1563. The tower still fulfilled its task of surveillance and defense against pirate raids at the end of the 18th century, when the Sienese architect Tiburzio Spannocchi was commissioned by the viceroy. Marcantonio Colonna (1567-1584) to design a system of sighting and defense towers, with a precise written and cartographic survey of the coast, aimed at identifying the sites in which the towers are to be built,
as had been implemented in the Kingdom of Naples in 1563.
The defensive towers of Sicily
Later, starting from 1584, the Florentine architect Camillo Camilliani, on behalf of the Deputation of the Kingdom, a centralized structure of the Spanish monarchy with the task of supervising all the defense works, took care of the definitive drafting of the project, which included the realization throughout the Sicilian territory of 197 towers.
In this part of the coast, Camilliani noticed the tower of Falconara, which he described as "a very large and strong tower, built on top of a prominent and comfortable promontory, which remains very strong and secura, and subjected to the principality of Butera; which castle is far from the sea about eight miles; and in this tower the guard is kept continuously"
Spotted the enemy, from these towers the alarm was promptly raised through smoke, fire or cannon fire sighting towers which belonged to the state-owned city of the nearest interior, known as the "caprio", so that armed militias were allowed to intervene in each armed village, feudal or state-owned, of the "com'arca". in our case, it was the com'arca di Piazza, which included, in addition to the public square, the feudal lands of Aidone, Mazzarino, Barry, Pietraperzia, Terranova and Butera, which last had to send three knights and twenty-one infantrymen.
Falconara, then, from the sixteenth century was part of that crown of towers that surrounded Sicily in order to make the coastal territories subject to sudden and devastating defenses safe and secure barbaric and Turkish raids that infested the Mediterranean from '500 to all' 700. It is probable that the old structure of the tower, in all this time, has been enlarged and reinforced with walls surmounted by merlons and walkways, loopholes, machicolations, ditches, such as to give it the severe aspect of an inaccessible fort, both from the ground and from the sea, which overlooked with a sheer drop.
From a military castle to a manor house
These defense needs disappeared when the pirate raids they ended with the conquest of Algiers in the 1830 on the part of the French and with the agreement between the Mediterranean States to combat the scourge of piracy; it was therefore thought of transforming some military buildings into manor houses, in which to control the agricultural activities of the fief and where to oversee the division of products that would go to cram the warehouses and cellars of the castle, or even in privileged places of idlings and summer leisures. There was the need to give architectural decoration to the building, enriching it with staircases, colonnades, friezes, capitals, pilasters and chromatic pseudobugnate plasters and wrought iron balconies, ornamental gardens adorned with fountains and marble seats.
This happened for Falconara in the early 800, when the Princess of Butera, Caterina Branciforte, he married the German officer in second weddings Giorgio Wilding, which served in the English navy under the command of Admiral Horace Nelson. The rich and noble family considered it necessary to have a new and dignified home and, considering that the "manor" was no longer in tune with the idea of 'era, he built an impressive wing facing south, and then towards the sea. The new building was connected to one
staircase, covered with gray-plumbeous pitch stone slabs, tending to blue, with wrought iron railings and wooden handrail, to the existing structure, originally used as stables or mesh, located on the ground floor. In it, by making some modifications, above all related to walls and partitions, one was obtained great hall, a kitchen and a terrace overlooking the sea, from which it dominates a wide area of coast that goes from Licata
in Santa Croce Camerina; environments of different sizes, used as living rooms and master bedrooms, placed on the first level below; and, finally, bedrooms for guests and various services on the second level of the beach.
The princess, dying in the 1816, left for Falconara testament to Count Wilding, who, having no children, gave it to her brother Ernesto. During the revolts of the 1848, these sold the castle and the title of baron ad Antonio Chiaramonte Bordonaro, which built a new building, flanked to the castle and placed parallel to the sea, whose rooms were used for production activities, such as, on the ground floor, warehouses, storage of equipment and handicrafts, crusher, etc., while the first floor became the settlers' home.
In the halls he made wooden coffered ceilings and set up his collections of Italian and Sicilian ceramics and majolica from the 15th and 16th centuries, and a rich art gallery, most of which today is located at Villa Carlotta in Palermo, current home of the Chiaramonte Bordonaro family.
The services of the Castello di Falconara:
The enchanting structure of the Castle of Falconara, located on a hill sloping towards the sea, is an ideal place where spend dream holidays o celebrate weddings and other private receptions in one of the most exclusive places in Sicily.
The Castle is available to travelers and those looking for a romantic getaway in a historic home of excellence.
Staying in a Castle in Sicily
The historic home can be rented in its entirety, furnished with period furniture and collections of ceramics, includes 6 living rooms, 2 dining rooms , kitchen, anticucina and office, 4 double rooms , 4 double e 2 single. All bedrooms have the bathroom in the room e vista mare.
The wide sea area, which can be accessed directly from a staircase carved into the rock, overlooks a lush garden bordering the beach. The guest house on the ground floor works as a B & B and includes 1 large living room of 82 square meters, a living room, kitchen and 7 bedrooms with bathroom and shower, a large
terrace overlooking the sea overlooked by 3 7 rooms, even here all rooms have sea view.
Location weddings and private events in Sicily
The Park and the Tower of the Castle of Falconara are an exclusive location for weddings and private events of charm in Sicily. The Castle has large rooms with period furnishings that will make your wedding unique.
Holiday homes at the beach in Butera
Inside the Castle Park of Falconara are present 3 mini apartments that can accommodate from 2 to 4 people each, with a living-dining room and sofa bed, double bedroom in mezzanine, two bathrooms with shower and external relevance with views of the Castle and the sea. They are considered between the most beautiful beach holiday homes in Butera in the province of Caltanissetta.
The Castle of Falconara is the starting point for discover eastern Sicily, Piazza Armerina and Villa Romana del Casale, Ragusa, Ibla, the Valley of the Temples of Agrigento, Noto, or for gourmet travelers to discover the starred restaurants that are located between Licata and Syracuse.